Articles by Xyroh

Articles by Xyroh – an Indie mobile app and software developer based in the North East UK

Imagine you had a globally successful mobile app and you were forced to sell?

This is the odd situation that’s been unravelling in the US this month for TikTok after Donald Trump ordered Bytedance to sell off it’s US business, that TikTok, a globally successful mobile app, must be sold to remain operational in the US.

Trump’s distrust of China

The background is that Trump and his government don’t trust China (here in the UK we have similar distrust towards Chinese owned Huawei) for reasons we’re not privvy to, Bytedance is, or certainly initially was, a Chinese company. However Tiktok has a huge following (3.7 million users) and is valued at over $50 billion, by all metrics it’s a successful mobile app. If that was your startup you’d be pretty happy.

Now imagine you were old to give up / sell up a major chunk of that because a foreign power doesn’t like or trust you? Unsurprisingly the Chinese are not happy, and already put the blockers on Microsoft purchasing Tiktok, that deal was supposed to remove all Trump’s concerns (Security and use of the data, search histories, locations, and anything else their algorithm defines) with an outright technology purchase.

Oracle?

Where it gets weirder, is now that an outright purchase of TikTok US is off the table, it seems Oracle are the forerunners, but as a technology partner, not entirely sure what this means, but in essence it sounds like the be all of hosting deals. But as the Verge states Oracle’s TikTok deal accomplishes nothing.

After months of insistence that TikTok sever its US operations from Chinese ownership, we’re now settling for a vague partnership between Oracle and the US TikTok operation. It’s still unclear exactly what Oracle’s “trusted tech partner” status entails,

So is this a save face by Trump, making ‘something’ happen, assuming that Oracle hosting all this data will ease the concerns his government has (assuming they are valid concerns in the first place), just some sort of electioneering (his deadline was end of September to get a deal done)? Either way, it does little to progress us to a true, global, mobile app economy.

And back to the topic, what you do, if some foreign Gov came along one day and ordered you to divest, at no doubt less than market value as an enforced sale? Price of success for a successful mobile app?

About me

Andy Flisher is a Mobile App Developer based in the North East of England with over 20 years software development experience. He is available for hire and specialises in cross platform mobile app development, web applications, desktop software, bespoke cloud architecture solutions and providing outsourced project management services.

Some thoughts on the Apple App Store, and App Store quality, as a developer, as a consumer, and a parent

There have been a lot or articles around the App Store, and App Store quality, in the last few weeks, and I’ve had some frustrating interactions myself, but John Gruber’s article below hit home the most, maybe Apple should spent more time using their muscle policing the quality in the App Store, and the end users experience rather than their bottom line.

Daring Fireball: A Moment of Clarity Regarding the Raison d’Etre for the App Store:

Feel free to file Google’s release this week of an update to their iPad Gmail app with support for split-screen multitasking under “better late than never”, but this is so late it borders on the absurd. It’s like the difference between showing up fashionably late and showing up a week after the party.

The quick summary of John’s article is that that Google’s gmail app for iPad could have had split screen (good for more productive work on the iPad, eg email on one side of the screen, another app on the other) 5 years ago, but it didn’t, yet this app is one of the most downloaded, most used iPad apps on the platform. Should Apple not be policing these top tier apps, the most used / downloaded, however you chose to measure it and pushing them to be better, more features, a better user experience, after all there are many, many users who will benefit.

Gmail split view 0

In complete contrast, I’m at the final stages of a cross platform, open source, demo app (don’t tell Apple!) it has very little functionality, a simple utility, that’s free, who’s reason for existence at my end is a technical one, to show how this cross platform code can develop the same utility on iOS, Android, Mac and windows desktop (for starters). It’ll be on Github and an example for others to build on. It got rejected by Apple for not having enough features, they even openly admitted that it’s not for them to define the functionality of the app, except they were, and they did! (Not a biggy, I’m just putting some of the version 2 ideas I had in now). My point however, is if apple can dictate quality, and functionality to little old me, in an app that will affect approximately 20 people on the planet, why can’t they do the same for an app that’s offering a poor experience to millions? Because it involves butting heads with Google 🤔

On a similar note, in terms of improving the end user experience, Gems, game drugs as I call them, the concept of In App Purchases for games, marketed at kids, who just, want, want, want. I hate them. This caused tears in my household this weekend, all thanks to the need to buy gems to progress further in a game (there’s no method to earn progress, you have to buy it). Now we use parental controls, so my daughter has to request in app purchases, and most of the time we say no and suggest Apple Arcade which we also pay for (something created by Apple because they can see the problem these games create), as it has no IAP, no gems, just good quality games. On this occasion, as a treat I said yes, the next day she requested again, so we had a conversation about how this wasn’t going to be a habit, and I said no, the first time was a one off. A few hours later she came to see me, all excited, she’d found a YouTube video that ‘showed’ how if you download this other app you would get free gems to the former – so clearly the need for gems was on her mind and she’d been off looking. Of course this won’t work, at least not in the way she thinks, and just perpetuates the problem more, another app, with adverts (which is how their short attention spans find these in the first place) probably asking for gems itself, and so the cycle continues. So I had to sit down and explain to her, that this was not what my poor trusting daughter thought it was, the offer of free gems was not true, it was just a lure, and of course that she couldn’t have her gems, and her world was broken, cue tears, and me, an angry helpless parent 😢

Unknown

I need to spend more time in Apple Arcade with the kids, I’ll admit that, but the games are almost too big, too good, the kids don’t invest time in mobile games – not like PC or console – they like quick pick up, put down games I’m open to any recommendations, as a big kid I enjoy the odd game too), and obviously indifferent to quality! Apple Arcade games are more traditional, and for what ever reason they aren’t appealing to my kids – I really think Apple need to refocus on this, but of course will they? The cynic in me thinks they like their 30% cut on gems, game drugs, and aren’t motivated to fix that.

So back to the premise, if Apple are going to preach, quality control on their App Store then do so, do it well, and be dictate it, and be consistent. But don’t pretend, that’s almost worse than letting things become a dumping ground like the Google Play store can be, at least you know where the bar is there, and protect accordingly. People want App Store quality, so please give it to us, and as a developer I’ll work with you to hit those standards.

Rant over.

About me

Andy Flisher is a Mobile App Developer based in the North East of England with over 20 years software development experience. He is available for hire and specialises in cross platform mobile app development, web applications, desktop software, bespoke cloud architecture solutions and providing outsourced project management services.

Some thoughts on this weeks Apple Developer conference – WWDC 2020

Today sees the conclusion of the annual Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (aka WWDC 2020), and I just wanted to offer a few thoughts and highlights as to what’s been announced, what we can expect, and what it means to me and my clients.

First off it was a highly polished and professional keynote, as you would expect from Apple, but more so considering much of the events charm is in the atmosphere of a full auditorium of developers, something not possible this year for obvious reasons.

Wwdc 2020 mr logo

Apple Mac and the move to ARM

The big announcement, and worst kept secret, was that going forward new Apple Mac products (iMac, MacBook, Mac Pro etc) will be running Apple Silicone (ARM based processors – like the iPhone and iPad), a move away from the current Intel (x86 – like most Windows PC’s and Laptops use) chips. At a technical level this is massive for developers, but Apple have made as easy a pathway as possible, where it does become interesting though as this means there will be the ability for iPhone apps to run, out of the box on new Apple hardware. This means there will be a lot more apps available for the Mac instantly, but also a dilemma for developers and clients considering a Mac presence, to you optimise the Mac app as you have always done before, or make do with your iPhone app working on the Mac even if the experience is not idea?

Mac OS Big Sur as it’s named got a visual overall too, looking very similar to the iPad it has to be said – time will tell on that one I think

Control center big sur 610x610

iPhone and iPad

Even though technically iOS and iPad OS are separate things now, I’ll tag them together under the iOS 14 banner. I’m already running this in Beta, and so far it looks very pretty, stable, and a decent step forward, highlights include;

– Widgets on the home screens
– Upgraded Messages app (Pinned conversations, mentions etc)
– Offline translation
– App clips – Mini apps you don’t have to install / login and just use once, eg car parking apps
– Improved privacy notifications in Safari
– Scribbles – Handwriting recognition from the Apple Pencil to enter small amounts of text / search etc

Screenshot 2020 06 26 at 11 22 56

Apple Watch

No real headline grabbers here, Watch OS 7 is just everything a little bigger and better than before, new workouts, watch faces, emoji (of course!), sleep tracking, and make sure you wash your hands properly!

Screenshot 2020 06 26 at 11 27 28

Overall there’s a lot to work through, for many it’s, just an iterative year, for developers a little more exciting, but if you’d like to know more about Apple, WWDC 2020, or you are considering getting an App developed for any of the Apple platforms then I’d love to hear from you.

About me

Andy Flisher is a Mobile App Developer based in the North East of England with over 20 years software development experience. He is available for hire and specialises in cross platform mobile app development, web applications, desktop software, bespoke cloud architecture solutions and providing outsourced project management services.

Project Updates for 12/06/2020

All about the infrastructure this week, deployed a new application server and backend database into the Azure cluster we designed and managed for them, redundancy and global performance the goals 🌎
Also found time to integrate a clients website framework with a WordPress backend as a CMS 📝, and pushed a release to XyrohLib to integrate with Freshdesk 🆘

XyrohLib 1.1 has been released

XyrohLib Version 1.1 has been released, the changelog is below, if you’d like to contribute to the project then head over to Github – https://github.com/Xyroh/…

[1.1.0] – 2020-06-11

Added

  • Enabled Manual Crash Reporting to AppCenter #18
  • Added Sentry Breadcrumbs Support #16
  • Added Freshdesk Ticket creation with attachments and tags #21 #20

Fixed

  • Fixed ability to create multiple Freshdesk tickets in one session

Project Updates for 29/05

Much of this week has been spent knee deep in WebRTC and it’s specs, recreating core Zoom functionality for a specific environment is complicated! 🎥
Found time to start a quick personal (Open Source) project inspired by another though so watch this space 🤖
Oh, and mostly caught up with the accounts 🥱🧮

How to fix the ‘This app is no longer shared with you’ error

There seems to be a surge of people reporting the ‘This app is no longer shared with you’ message when they open apps on iOS devices. Not sure why, our suspicion is that it’s a server side bug in and around family sharing, but that’s not confirmed.

Deleting the app and reinstalling will work, but you will potentially lose any data that’s stored locally, so our recommendation is to ‘offloads the app. This was introduced as a means to save space on your device by temporarily removing apps that you rarely use, but not losing any data or settings.

So whilst it’s a pain you can offload the app and then immediately restore it to fix this bug, full instructions are over at https://www.idownloadblog…

If this helped you fix the ‘This app is no longer shared with you’ error on your iPhone then would appreciate the share, if you have any other updates or solutions then please hit up the comments and we’ll update the article.

Microsoft’s new cross platform software framework – What does it mean to your business?

Yesterday at the Microsoft Build conference they announced MAUI, the roadmap to their new cross platform software, single codebase framework, quoting from their release;

Introducing .NET Multi-platform App UI:

As we consider what building device applications will look like in a unified .NET, we see many devices across multiple platforms used, from Android and iOS to Windows and macOS. To address this need we are excited to announce a new first-class UI framework for doing just that: .NET Multi-platform App UI, affectionately call .NET MAUI.

This means a lot to us as developers, but what does it mean to you as business owners, decision makers, and end users? To your business?

App languages – how they differ

All computer software (apps are just software applications, all the same really) is traditionally designed to run on it’s intended platform, the Web, Windows PC, Apple Mac, iPhone, Android etc – an app written for one platform will traditionally be written in the language that platform expects, all these platforms have different native languages, ie an app written for one won’t work on another.

In layman’s terms, if you learn French it will stand you in great stead on a holiday to France, but pop next door to Spain and you’re stuck. Unless you learn Spanish too, but that’s twice as much work.

 

Maui 01 overview 1536x864

Multiple App Platforms

Which is where us developers come in, most developers speak more than one language, but certainly not all, and in the past you had to be careful that the language choice the developer was making for your project was because it was the right one for your needs.   Not because it was the one they knew. But as IT expanded, people started using their own devices, and mobile computing became the norm it stopped being about which platform – Mac vs PC if you will, but which platforms – plural.

So if you ask a developer to create you a mobile app you are probably targeting iPhone and Android, two platforms, two languages (Objective C or Swift, and Java in case you were wondering!) – so that’s actually two apps you need, twice the work, twice the support, twice the cost!!! If only there were some (good – there are bad ways, we don’t do them) way of creating good, native, performant apps on both platforms, from one codebase, one product to support, and only one to pay for – cheaper is better right?

How can Xyroh help?

Well for most cases there is, it’s niche, here at Xyroh we do it, and have spent a lot of time and resources investing in these skills, the platform we use is Xamarin from Microsoft, and in *most* cases, certainly B2B projects it’s perfect – outputting great, custom mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone – Tizen even – at good value to your business.

Mobile App Development Native App vs Web App vs Hybrid App

Well that’s what this announcement was about, the next stage. Microsoft’s new MAUI framework will allow us to create line of business apps that run on;

– Android
– iOS (iPhone and iPad)
– Mac OS
– Windows

All from one project, one codebase, one cost – but much more value. So if you have a need for apps, be it a mobile app, a desktop app, or even a web app in your business then we’d love to talk to you.

Related Articles:

Native App, Hybrid App, or somewhere in between?
Xamarin Cross Platform Application Development – Book Review

Andy, the founder of Xyroh, is a mobile app developer, specialising in cross platform mobile apps, iphone apps, android apps, as well as web applications and desktop software for business clients across the North East – feel free to contact him to engage his services

New ‘Worst’ Apps additions, or the lack of the them 😬

We started the ‘Worst’ Apps when we released the ‘Worst’ Server Monitor the idea was to release a range of small, simple, functional utilities – based on the premise of Unix command line utilities that have one, single, primary function and that’s it.

Why? Well it’s good to practise your craft, this world moves fast with lots of key app functions so having ‘done it’ already is huge, also it’s good marketing to show what you can do. So we came up with the idea of the ‘Worst’ range (a play on the simplicity of the UI and the logos, the apps are solid, honest) – except to have a range you need more than one, and we don’t yet 😬. The good news is that’s down to you, we’ve been busy on client projects, and a few of the ‘Worst’ range have grown legs and become stand alone products in the back ground and in progress – so things are hapenning, just slowly.

I the mean time, though we’d share a few of the app icon ideas we came up with, see if you can guess what the app was for, and if you’re crying out for one then let us know, we’ll see if we can bump the priority.

 

 

Andy, the founder of Xyroh, is a mobile app developer, specialising in cross platform mobile apps, iphone apps, android apps, as well as web applications and desktop software for business clients across the North East – feel free to contact him to engage his services

Project updates for 15/05

So much for more free time ⏳, a whirlwind this week;
– New Opportunity for a Moto X track booking app 📱
– Researching the infrastructure behind a remote video app for Askaris 🔬
– Scratched a few itches around old school game development, reminiscing after reading the behind the scenes of book by Jordan Mechner 📖
– Oh, and all the normal updates, fixes, panics and research